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Class gets students inside a bank, teaches them accounting

Class gets students inside a bank, teaches them accounting
Class gets students inside a bank, teaches them accounting 02:19

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The deadline to file 2022 tax returns with the IRS is on Tuesday.

"When I first heard about the program I went to my parents and said 'I could do your taxes now,' once I got certified for it," 17-year-old Riphin Kurubila said.

Riphin is not old enough to file his own taxes, but he's old enough to prepare them for others.

Every week for the past several months, as part of a finance and accounting class at George Washington High School, students have been planted inside an M&T bank at 6500 Castor Avenue in Philadelphia's Oxford Circle section.

"They are logged into the portals, they are opening up client information and they are getting to work on client taxes," high school teacher Spencer Engel said.

Everyone has been trained and certified.

"As a precaution, the students only prepare what we call basic returns. The more complicated returns, the students are not working on those," said Jasmine Houlston, site manager of Campaign for Working Families.

Houlston is helping to spearhead this project alongside the Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association. 

She says volunteers are needed more than ever and many of the families they serve can't afford the fees that come with tax preparation.

"For our community, those are dollars that are going toward meals, toward rent payments, child care and all sorts of things," Houlston said. "So it's really really needed for the people we are serving."

"We saw the need in this area, there were a lot of people, a lot of elderly that couldn't make it to the tax sites," said Magaly Hernandez, the OCCCDA's economic development director.

"In our community, it's basically most of the people are receiving some money back, because of their income level," Hernandez added.

As for Riphin, he says you can learn a lot about someone's life through a W-2 form.

"When you do taxes you learn about someone, so you kind of get a short story of them, and some of the stories are really touching," he said.

He's still waiting to assist his parents, but their taxes may be a bit more complicated.

Will he be doing his parents' taxes someday?

"No, not yet, I'm going to try to convince them," he said.

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